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The best time to visit Japan is from late March to early April and from September to November. During spring, the country is covered in swathes of cherry blossom trees, while autumn chooses a new palette as tranquil gardens and parks turn a shade of red, orange and gold. As well as the beautiful foliage, the weather is mild during these periods and pleasant for strolling around the sights.
In major cities like Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka, your best bet for immersing yourself in the pink tint of sakura season is at the start of April. It’s not an exact science but generally, the milder the climate, the earlier the blossoms open – so bear this in mind when planning your trip. As well as exploring Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines, public bathhouses (sento) and hot-spring baths (onsen) are one of the most therapeutic ways to immerse yourself in the local culture. Japan is also renowned for its flavourful cuisine, so be sure to fill your plate with sushi, udon noodles and tofu between soaking up the sights.
Monthly weather and travel tips for Japan
Japan in January is a relatively chilly affair with temperatures dropping to around 10°C and many parts of the country experiencing snowfall. But between winter festivals, hot springs and skiing, there are plenty of ways to keep warm. Lower crowds combined with consistently impressive sights make it well worth braving the crisp weather in big cities like Tokyo and Kyoto but bear in mind that a lot of businesses close over the New Year period. If you’re adamant about leaving your coat and umbrella at home, the Okinawa Islands in the southwest enjoy semi-tropical weather all year round, with temperatures of up to 18°C.
The Shōgatsu (New Year) festival kicks off on 1 January when everyone unites to wish good health and prosperity upon one another. Head to a snow art festival to observe beautiful ice sculptures of mythological creatures which are illuminated at night. As January is the coldest month of the year, many also take to the slopes to enjoy skiing or snowboarding, with Hakuba and Niseko two of the most popular resorts.
Coming of Age Day
January 3 Bank Holiday
New Year's Day observed
January 2 Bank Holiday
New Year's Day
As the cold snap continues into February, ski season reaches its peak as blankets of thick, powdery snow are met with more sunshine and slightly warmer temperatures than January. Although the weather is usually sunny and dry, you should pack plenty of warm clothes to cope with the cooler temperatures which average out at around 10°C during the day and 2°C in the evening. There are limited crowds at this time of year, making it a great time to explore the main sights with shorter queues.
February’s highlights include Sapporo’s annual snow festival, attracting two million visitors with its ice sculpting competition, a skating rink and snow slides for kids. Towards the end of the month, plum blossoms begin to appear to signal the start of spring. Head to famous viewing points like Kairaku-en in Mito or Tokyo’s Hanegi Park along with many other gardens and shrines to appreciate the vibrant shades of these colourful trees.
National Foundation Day
March’s main draw is undoubtedly the tradition of hanami, which literally means to look at flowers. It won’t take you long to see what all the fuss is about, with the sakura trees popping up in parks, along streets and riversides. The cherry blossom colours begin to peek through at the beginning of March as the reddish hues spread from south to north, but expect a full-on pink parade as the month draws to a close. It's worth checking the cherry blossom forecasts ahead of time if you want to see the country at its most colourful. These will be available between January and February and will be updated weekly throughout the season.
Anime is a big deal in Japan, so if you’re in Tokyo at this time, it’s worth checking out AnimeJapan – the world’s largest festival devoted to this popular animation style. Daytime temperatures average out at an agreeable 13°C, meaning it’s one of the most enjoyable times to visit the country. If you’re going to be out the whole day, you should pack a relatively warm coat or jumper to wrap up in during the evenings when it gets a bit fresher.
Dolls' Festival/Girls' Festival
A surge of warmer weather throughout the country means April is the ideal time to visit any part of Japan. Cherry blossom season hits its stride in cities like Tokyo and Kyoto, and southern Okinawa’s beach resorts are open for business. While temperatures average out to 19°C during the day, you’ll still want to wear something warmer in the evening when it can get quite chilly.
Die-hard winter sports enthusiasts can still hit the slopes in some resorts, like Niseko which caters for spring skiing. If you’re keen to appreciate the beauty of cherry blossom season in full swing, Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto offer some of the best hanami (blossom viewing) as flushes of pink cover streets, parks and shrines. However, there are thousands of spots across the country to observe sakura (cherry trees) in bloom. Beware that crowds will swell during Golden Week (29th April to early May) when a number of Japanese holidays take place.
As Golden Week festivities spill over into the first week of May, cherry blossoms are at their pinkish peak in the northern region of Hokkaido and average temperatures creep up to a pleasant 23°C. Many Japanese people take the week off work so expect public transport and parks to be busy.
Once the crowds have dispersed, you can enjoy a relatively roomy exploration around main cities like Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto and enjoy the t-shirt worthy weather. With ski season officially over, hiking is the best way to keep active, with Hokkaido’s mountains and various national parks the best spots for a scenic stroll. Tokyo is filled with festivals during May, including the wild weekend-long Sanja Matsuri where around 100 portable shrines are paraded through the streets. The tail end of the month sees the hugely popular Roppongi Art Night put on its weekend of outdoor installations and live performances, turning the area into one big open-air gallery.
Constitution Memorial Day
By late June, the rainy season (‘tsuyu’) affects most of Japan so packing a waterproof coat and umbrella is strongly advised. The northernmost islands of Hokkaido are the one part of Japan which escape the showers, enjoying sunny weather for most of the month. Down south it will be fairly hot and humid, with rain falling in sporadic tropical downpours and temperatures around 26°C.
Despite the wet weather in central and southern Japan, there’s still plenty to see and do in the big cities. It’s an ideal time to make use of the traditional hot springs known as onsen, where you can soak in geothermally heated waters rich in minerals. There are also plenty of free festivals going on across the country, such as Hyakumangoku Matsuri in Kanazawa where you can observe traditional 16th-century costumes and folk dancing.
By July, sunny days are frequent in the north and south, making it perfect for mountain excursions or snorkelling around the Okinawa Islands. Honshu and central Japan are a soggier affair as the rainy season continues. Although it can get very hot and humid in most parts of the country, you can find cooler weather in the northern regions like Hokkaido where temperatures average out to 21°C.
Climbing season officially begins in July, when adventurous types tackle Mount Fuji – the country’s highest peak at 3,776 metres. If you’re around on the last weekend of July, you can catch some of the biggest music acts at Fuji Rock Festival. It’s also the time for popular summer festivals like Gion Matsuri in Kyoto, Tenjin Matsuri in Osaka and hundreds of ‘hanabi taikai’ (fireworks shows) held across the country.
A combination of hot, humid weather, school holidays and the start of typhoon season means a visit in August can be quite hectic and overcrowded. Temperatures range between 35°C and 23°C, so be sure to pack plenty of breathable lightweight clothing. The beaches in Ishikari, just outside Sapporo, are very popular this time of year and experience lower humidity than other parts of Japan thanks to the island’s higher altitude.
Due to the sticky and unpleasant weather, it's best to avoid central cities like Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto, but they still host some spectacular fireworks festivals which are worth checking out if you’re in town. Climbing season is still in full swing, so excursions up to Mount Fuji are still very popular at this time, but expect busy trails during Obon week – one of Japan’s three main holiday seasons.
Nagasaki Memorial Day
Hiroshima Memorial Day
Harsh weather conditions and limited travel options make September a month to avoid for travellers visiting Japan. Although the weather is generally less hot and humid, peak typhoon season will be occurring and usually hits the coasts of Okinawa, Kyushu and Shikoku with hard rain and high winds. With this in mind, always carry an umbrella and check weather forecasts before you head out.
In the north you can experience the first signs of autumn creeping through in Hokkaido’s National Parks, as the leaves turn beautiful shades of red and orange. If you’re in Osaka in the third weekend of September then you’ll witness one of its most energetic festivals – Kishiwada Danjiri Matsuri, while full moon gatherings known as ‘tsukimi’ take place all over the country.
Respect for the Aged Day
October is one of the best times to visit Japan as typhoon season and rainy weather make way for pretty autumn scenery, warm days and mild evenings. Head to Hokkaido’s National Parks to make the most of the season’s glorious shades of red, orange and gold, with O-numa Quasi National Park offering some of the most colourful foliage. Average temperatures range between 22°C and 14°C across all regions, so there’s no need to layer up while you’re exploring.
The pleasant weather brings a big haul of festivities to all corners of the country, including the Matsue Suitōro festival of water and light, Tokyo’s annual performing arts festival (Festival/Tokyo) and Yokohama Oktoberfest. Halloween is also a big deal in Japan, so expect to see thousands of creative costumes around squares and parks come 31 October. Events include flash mobs, street parties and even zombie runs.
Health and Sports Day
The sunny weather and wonderfully photogenic autumnal scenery make November one of the best months to visit Japan. Things start to get a little cooler at this time of year, so be sure to pack some extra layers to cope with cooler evenings, particularly if you’re visiting the northernmost island of Hokkaido which drops to around 8°C. The warmest weather can be found in the southern Okinawa Islands, with an average temperature of 22°C.
Mid-November sees the traditional festival of Shichi-Go-San (‘7-5-3’) take place where girls aged seven and three and boys aged five don colourful kimonos and receive blessings at Shinto shrines. You can also catch the last sumo wrestling tournament of the year at Fukuoka as the Kyushu Basho event wows crowds at the Fukuoka Kokusai Center. Kyoto is also worth a visit around this time as its temples and gardens are filled with postcard-perfect scenery.
Labor Thanksgiving Day
The winter chill is well underway by this time of the year, ushering in the first snowfall, festive illuminations and the start of the ski season in Hokkaido. Average temperatures range between 12°C and 4°C and days are shorter with sunset in Tokyo taking place around 16:30. On the southwest islands, you can still enjoy mild weather reaching 20°C and beaches will be all but empty, but the water may be too cold for more than dipping your toe in.
Many shrines hold New Year’s Eve events on 31 December, and eating buckwheat noodles is a tasty tradition known as ‘toshikoshi soba’ – said to bring luck and longevity to those with the longest noodles. At midnight, temple bells around the country ring out 108 times as part of Joya-no-kane, an annual purifying ritual. Despite the fun festivities, it’s worth bearing in mind that this period is one of the three major travel seasons in Japan, so many businesses may be closed or open for limited hours. Expect transport to be more crowded as well.
December 31 Bank Holiday
Although Japan’s climates and weather patterns vary a lot across its regions, the spring season between March and May is always a safe bet to explore this enchanting country. To give you an idea of how the season pans out weather-wise, Tokyo’s average temperature is around 13°C in March, steadily climbing up to 18.5°C in April and 23°C in May. If you’re visiting at the start of the season, it’s best to pack something a bit warmer for the cooler evenings.
Cost of stay in Japan
Want to travel smart? Here, you can check out the average cost of accommodation per night in Japan.
The best places to visit in Japan
Check out some of the most popular cities, places to visit and things to do in Japan!
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I lived in Japan for over a year and visited Kyoto three times on trips ranging from 2-4 days. There’s so much to do and see and the amount of history and culture you can experience here is incredible! Kyoto holds a special place in my heart, and every time I visit Japan, I will go back to Kyoto.
The slopes during winter are really nice, and there’s a good selection of nice restaurants. People are friendly and many people speak English.
So much to see in the area. Just ask the guide information center at Kawaguchiko station. Several buses to take you around to places, the museums, caves, Lake Yamanako, Kawaguchiko, Saiko, Shoji, Motosu, Chureito Pagoda, Honcho street, Fuji Q Highland and others. Try Yoshida restaurant near Mt Fuji station.
Many nice restaurant/cafe choices in Landmark Tower as well as Red Brick district! Also China Town is close by. Walking near the Yokohama Bay was so refreshing, plus some cool stores!
It is so relaxing to visit Gero. It is not crowded and the price of hotel and food is reasonable and good quality. It is very easy to walk around the central area as the spots are all close by. Definitely a good short vacation if you want to get away from the busy city life.
The place is nice. The snow is nice. Monkeys are cute. Trekking is nice with the snow. Beautiful together with the snow. Transportation is difficult. Need to check the schedule of the bus or else you will have to wait for a long time for the next bus. It is recommended to have a car. The road is slippery due to the snow. Very dangerous to walk when a car is passing by. You might get hit when you slipped.
The people of Sapporo and Hokkaido are not your typical Japanese people. They are kind and hospitable like most Japanese but they are much more down-to-earth in Hokkaido. I really like Sapporo, a bit cold and a lot of snow, but I love this city.
Nagano easy to get around foods were great and going to temple at night was great
I was really pleasantly surprised by Takamatsu! I arrived in the evening so I only ate dinner. I recommend the store "Sanuki Udon Enya", it was so delicious, and I don't usually get excited about Udon. My itinerary took about 6 hours: Tamamo Park, Ritsurin Koen, Yashima. I especially recommend Ritsurin Koen, but I recommend eating and early lunch before going there.
I lived in Nagoya for 1 year and it was a fantastic experience. Nice castle, nice ramen carts in Atsuta and crazy colourful people in front of Kanayama station. Kamimaezu is a nice shopping option for electronics and make sure you always bargain when you feel that the price is too high. I took my 5yo Son to Legoland and he got stoked.
We were chasing Kushikatsu (meat skewers) for a few days and finally found original ones straight from the source at Namba area. The restaurant we went had a vintage Kombi inside that you could book it to eat inside. So creative.
I sailed on the drift ice. I saw eagles, herons, and foxes. I saw forests and fields of pristine snow. Tourist information and general staff were very welcoming.
Great Place. Lovely Mountains Scenic views Great Food too (Pizzakaya, TapRoom, Hinabe)
There us the reclining Buddha and Fukuoka tower to enjoy. There is also an aquarium. The art museums was okay but it is surrounded by a lake, Japanese garden and Fukuoka castle ruins. Most things didn't open until 9 or later. There is the subway, trains, and buses. But car was more convenient for me.
Osaka is one of my favorate in japan, wanna go back again there very soon
Tokyo is a busy tourist area but i really enjoy the shopping spot there
i wanna go back again and again in sapporro , i love the climate and scenery of that place
Been to Kyoto for the nth time, but it is still my most recommended place to visit in Japan. A place full of history, culture, arts, temples and wonderful place to relax and immerse yourself to Japanese culture.
Just go! You'll love everything. The people, the public transport, everything was a dream
The surface of the town has changed over so many years, and keeps changing. However, the essence of Kyoto remains. I was born there and spent my youth there. Literally every corner brings me a sweet memory. I love Kyoto.
Due to the virus, Kyoto has much fewer tourists and is amazingly calm currently. Besides the many many places to visit (temples, museums, the charming old-Kyoto, ...), the food is great in Kyoto ; lots of "green" shops with natural products. Also, people are usually keen to talk about the city, and always ready to help. Rent a bicycle to render your trip even better.
Very good location upper-middle western hotel for visiting Kashihara/Asuka historical area. Good onsen-spa to experience Japanese communal bath.
If you have been to Kamakura and Kyoto you should give Nikko a try.
Amazing city. The temples are amazing. Each one is a surprising oasis amongst a concrete jungle. Public transport in Kyoto is excellent and easy to navigate. Food and people are excellent too. Would return again in a heartbeat
Everyone who ever travelled to Japan knows every city in Japan is beautiful.. Kyoto is just on another level of beauty for me. Architectures, food, scenery, people, parks, entertainments, transportations, rivers, temples, coffee shops, lakes, hot springs.. everything is amazing there! everything! Kyoto is awesome!
A city full of history and great things to see, learn, try and taste. There are so many different faces of this city to see and experiences to have that about a week may not be enough to enjoy what Nagasaki has to offer. Definitely one of the most interesting places to visit in Japan.
These apartments are well located near the best of the villages onsen. The rooms are newly constructed to a very high standard and are very comfortable. The property also has a gym, free laundry, reading/business room and onsen style baths. Its hard to find anything to criticize in this excellent property. I hope we can return again soon.
Most of the city highlights are easily accessible by street car. Plan for at least 3 days
The girls and I got away for the night and this place was perfect. Very clean, lot’s of room for us all and everything we needed.
2 days were just enough. 3 would have been a comfortable visit too. Half a day for all the places related to nuclear peace Memorial. Other half to visit other places of nagasaki like china town and all. One day for the visit to private island Iojima. Best restaurant is Oohara sushi shop. Very kind people in an beautiful island. Final day could be to Huis ten bosch which is the largest theme park in Japan.
Love the vibe of Tokyo! Can't wait to go there again.
I loved the atmosphere of the city. The old sections of the city were absolutely breathtaking and I’ve never been anywhere like it. I loved that there was so much to do and see. If you like history, you will love this place. The surrounding mountains were beautiful as well. Lots of places to go hiking and see shrines and temples in the mountains. It was an amazing experience
There are no taxis from Kirayoshida station. It's a little secluded. So not much selection in terms of food. You'll enjoy more it if you drive. I personally like the location. It's pretty and convenient if you're on this side of Aichi and living in the surrounding aread.
The lavender garden were superb and free to enter, they also didn’t charge for parking. There are some wonderful lavender products for sale as well as lavender cheesecake, lavender ice cream and lavender pudding! Everything was close by waterfalls, the blue pond, Windy Garden , cheese factory where we made our own cheese. Local produce such as melons, cheese, potatoes, wine etc were all delicious and there were plenty of hot springs to enjoy!
While at Chitose I took the bus to Shikotsu lake which is about an hour away from Chitose station, the lake there is very scenic & in winter there is an ice festival there. In the summer you can try stand up paddleboats or kayaks, there is also a boat that allows you to peer into the water. There are plenty of places to eat so it's pretty convenient and it's not too far from Sapporo either only about 30 minutes away by train.
If you are interested in Bakumatsu to Meiji Restoration history this is your hotspot. Nagasaki is living historical gem 💎.
The location is beautiful mountain scenery. We enjoyed visiting other world heritage villages that were within an easy drive of our stay. Driving along the Hakusan Shirakawa-go White Road was also spectacular.
Wonderful city on the water and mountainous backdrop surrounded and above a hotbed of geothermal activity. If you're into nature and hot springs like me then you'll love Beppu. Take the time to relax and enjoy the area without rushing. Amazing variarion of types of hot springs, both to bathe and view.
Option for beaches and restaurants. Good representation of Okinawa
Best place to go to for food and the beach. Almost 1 hour and half away from Tokyo, and 40 minutes away from Enoshima.
Tokyo is a vast city. In every turn you can enjoy anything. A stroll in a park or in a shopping district. The food are limitless unless you got some allergies that in a way or two the restaurant's find their way to accomodate you. And yet still, if you want to enjoy your trip here in Tokyo, you need to plan your every destination.
Beautiful old water town. Peaceful and quiet with lovely walks and canal boat rides.
you can see everything you will see in Tokyo except for Akihabara. good food with cheap price. people are friendly.
Nice city. I recommend the food - especially fish and seafood is great in Sapporo. Due to covid lots of places were closed but apart from that the trip to Sapporo is highly recommended.
A very nice corner in Okinawa. The beaches are beautiful and it's quiet and peaceful.
Oku-oi kojo, Yume no Tsuribashi...difficult to get to, but worth it. A must visit for those who want to get on hanging bridges, unmanned stations in middle of a lake, train lovers, nature enthusiasts and of course kids who love Thomas.
A great place to explore Japanese island life! Not only is the nature beautiful, but the people are very kind and helpful. To get the most out of a trip to Goto, I recommend traveling with only a few specific places to visit in mind and filling in the gaps with some natural exploration. The places I wanted to see were great, but it was the little surprising spots and locations along the way that became the most memorable.
Nikko town and nearby areas like Kinugawa are excellent for history culture and attractions.
It's an incredible place to visit with family as well as alone. Surely gonna back there in the near future.
it is a beautiful place and also a good point to link up to other tourist sites in gifu, nagano. Plan your trip in advance to make the best use of your time. Do a detailed study of the alpine route
There aren't too many dining option in the city, so better have something at the hotel. A great place for cycling in summer.
I love the great people I met, the atmosphere, climate and scenery. Scuba Diving was my favorite activity. An international license is beneficial to get around on your own. I used a taxi service. I would avoid the beaches where volcanic ash and rocks are deposited.
Yokohama is a beautiful city with great restaurants and night life , and beautiful in the day for sightseeing. I ate in China town and the food was excellent. Yokohama is easy to get around on trains and the subway , however I just used taxi's.
A beautiful stay in one of the most picturesque places that we stayed in Hakone. Peaceful, calm, relaxing - an oasis of calm in a busy country. Highly recommended
A really neat fishing town with great food and friendly people. Beautiful views and lots of activities all around the area.
The old town, visiting the markets, walking by the rivers, the walk to visit the temples - follow the well marked signs.
A visit to the castle is a must! Many of the other museums are currently closed. Be sure to check the latest to see if they are actually open.
Great coast line with good beaches and good water for snorkling and more. sunsets are also very nice.
Fans of sushi must visit Tokyo and taste true fresh authentic delivery of sushi platter. No where else comes close. Mount Fuji is a must visit. I recommend to stay 2-3nights at fuji area as the fuji mountain is shy and is covered in clouds at times. Staying for 2days ensures you catch the Fuji in all its glory! And of course, bring the kids to Disneyland. (Adults can tag too eh )
Hakone has many to offer ...from beautiful scenic views, food,Mt Fuji and many landscape photography spots. A lot of walking trails ...please bring along a walking stick if going to more less walking trails. Overall a wonderful experience and would love to visit this place in next Spring.
Quirky shipping container hotel. Huge step of into and out of enclosed bathroom. Lots of road noise in units 1 through 5. Ask for higher numbers to be away from the road.
Amazing. We only had 1 full day and wish we had more. We rented bikes and toured around, parking the bikes outside of major sites and walking in. There is so much to see and do there.
It was a long weekend so traffic caused the almost 2 hrs delay on our estimated arrival. The beauty of Autumn foliage, Lake Kawaguchiko and Mt Fuji made our stay wonderfully memorable. I would love to come back and see other places in Fujikawaguchiko.
We loved visiting the Wakayama Prefectural History Museum and the cat stationmistresses on the Kishi Line.
Perfect place to enjoy Kumano Kodo Trails and river bank Onsen
Of course, visiting the snow monkeys was the best tour. But we should also have made the onsen tour, visting 8 or 9 different onsens. We had a great dinner at Hakko restaurant. The Ryuoo sky resort is also great.
Great for beginner skiers/snowboarders and people who want a quiet break in the snow. There are many resorts to choose from and many fields for beginners. Not a lot of restaurants and not a very lively town so it’s good for couples and families who just want a quiet place to stay. Lots of cheap snow gear rental places, many with complimentary shuttles to the ski resorts.
Tokyo is great in everything,lovely people,transportation great,and sometimes things to eats.